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Reports


Inspection carried out on 25 August 2016

During a routine inspection

We carried out an announced comprehensive inspection on 25 August 2016 to ask the practice the following key questions; Are services safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led?

Our findings were:

Are services safe?

We found that this practice was providing safe care in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Are services effective?

We found that this practice was providing effective care in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Are services caring?

We found that this practice was providing caring services in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Are services responsive?

We found that this practice was providing responsive care in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Are services well-led?

We found that this practice was providing well-led care in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Background

The practice is located in premises close to Hitchin town centre in north Hertfordshire. There is a small car park to the rear of the practice otherwise there is roadside parking or pay and display car parking available in and around the town centre. There are four treatment rooms all of which are located on the ground floor. The practice has four dental chairs registered with the Care Quality Commission.

The practice provides regulated dental services to both adults and children. Services provided include general dentistry, dental hygiene, crowns and bridges, and root canal treatment. The practice provides mostly NHS dental treatments.

The practice’s opening hours are – Monday to Thursday: 8:30 am to 5 pm; Friday: 8:30 am to 2 pm. Some Saturdays: 9:30 am to 1:30 pm.

Access for urgent treatment outside of opening hours is by telephoning the practice and following the instructions on the answerphone message which direct patients to telephone the NHS 111 telephone number.

The principal dentist is the registered manager. A registered manager is a person who is registered with the Care Quality Commission to manage the service. Like registered providers, they are ‘registered persons’. Registered persons have legal responsibility for meeting the requirements in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and associated Regulations about how the practice is run.

The practice has six dentists plus one dentist with a special interest in endodontics (specialising in the inside of the tooth); one specialist periodontist (a branch of dentistry concerned with the structures surrounding and supporting the teeth); one dentist specialising in implants; one dental hygienist; four qualified dental nurses; two trainee dental nurses; and a head receptionist. All staff at the practice worked on a part-time basis.

We received positive feedback from 24 patients about the services provided. This was by speaking with patients in the practice and through CQC comment cards left at the practice prior to the inspection.

Our key findings were:

  • Patients at the practice and through CQC comment cards provided positive feedback about their experiences at the practice. Patients said they were treated with dignity and respect.
  • The practice was well equipped.
  • Records showed there were sufficient numbers of suitably qualified staff to meet the needs of patients.
  • Dentists identified the different treatment options, and discussed these with patients.
  • Patients’ confidentiality was maintained.
  • The practice was visibly clean and tidy.
  • The practice followed the relevant guidance from the Department of Health's: ‘Health Technical Memorandum 01-05 (HTM 01-05) for infection control with regard to cleaning and sterilizing dental instruments.
  • There was a whistleblowing policy accessible to all staff, who were aware of procedures to follow if they had any concerns.
  • The practice had the necessary equipment for staff to deal with medical emergencies, and staff had been trained how to use that equipment. This included an automated external defibrillator, oxygen and emergency medicines.

There were areas where the provider could make improvements and should:

  • Review its responsibilities to the needs of people with a disability and the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 by carrying out an access audit for the premises. In addition, consider installing a hearing induction loop to assist patients who have difficulties with hearing.